June 23, 2019, RMNP Powder Turns, Colorado

US elsewhere
Posted by MW88888888 on 6/24/19 12:07pm
June 23rd, 2019
Continental Divide Powder
Estes Park, Colorado
Day 51

June Powder!

It happens. Often in the Rockies. But in late June and 2+ feet at altitude? More rare. Weird spring indeed...great for our drought...even better for late season skiing. Probably.



I hit snow showers right above town. As in, my town, down on the plains. It was 42F at my house. They intensified approaching 9,000' to a steady, driving curtain. 32 degrees and snowing hard, the road was starting to snow over and 3-4" was accumulating on everything that wasn't blacktop. Good omens as this was the drive up from town - oh boy for altitude. I drive on, being the first one up the road, the usual result of my pre-dawn preparations.

Dang! The road was closed. More hiking. Good to be here early. I broke out my boots, and realized no socks. Good one. I always forget something...today it was socks. That's fine by me, smiling, I put on my snowboard boots - 15 year old leather jobs that were about as comfortable as silk slippers. No, no socks was not an issue.

An hour and a half later I was at the spot I would have been able to park had the road been open. What a season! Road blocked at the winter turn-out in June. Was this June 23rd or January 23rd?

Once above the road, I put my snowshoes on and climbed up onto the remaining snow pack. The upper snowfield showed great resilience to the June sun, still a snowbank down to the road edge. Climbing was fun and easy with the snowshoes, all the way up to 11,000'. There was a magic spot where the snow was 4" blown-in on softer snow where the cold of higher altitude couldn't freeze into dust on crust conditions. More like whipped cream on mashed potatoes. That section was just awesome to ski. Otherwise, it was a pleasant journey in new snow and gentle pitches.

In untracked June powder. Well...ok...Untracked June New Snow - there were no face shots, just lots of smiles.
2019-07-01 10:22:27
Late season fresh snow is such a gift. I had a refresh last October that changed remnant ice in the enchantments from unskiable to fun. It only takes a little to change dirty to bright white.

Did you get to ski back to the winter gate? Prob worth it either way!
2019-07-01 12:52:06
I've had September powder in the Rockies, and I've heard tale and seen pictures of August "powder" along the Divide after a storm.  But I think the most evasive of all new-snow sirens are the July Powder turns.  Not hail, real 2-4" base+ of new snow.  Unicorn stuff.

In the Northern hemisphere.
2019-07-03 21:02:11
I remember the days of your Trip Reports in the NW. ;)
2019-07-05 13:36:50
I heard the Rockies got dumped on..way to be ready and get after it... Keep the reports coming!!!
2019-07-06 16:11:32

Reply to this TR

2019-06-24 19:07:54